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Dear  Naaleh Friend,
 
This weekend we celebrate the festive holiday of Purim! Naaleh.com offers a large variety of Purim classes to inspire you this holiday. Make sure to take the time to visit our homepage to see just a few of the classes we offer. This week we have featured a class from the Naaleh series Megillot I . The class is called Eternal Struggle: Mordechai and Haman by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller. Rebbetzin Heller examines Perek 2, with an introduction to Mordechai and Esther, and a deepening of our understanding of the galut, exile, and the specific roles of Haman and Mordechai.
 
 
To watch this class now and learn more please click on the image below: 
 
 

This week's edition of our Torat Imecha Newsletter on Parshat Tetzaveh is available on our Newsletter page
Click here for the printer friendly version, to share at your Shabbat table! Be sure to visit the homepage as well, for many more inspiring Torah classes! 
 
Shabbat Shalom!

-Ashley Klapper and the Naaleh Crew
Based on Naaleh.com shiur by Mrs. Shira Smiles
Summary by  Channie Koplowitz Stein
  

Two of the mitzvot unique to Purim are mishloach manot and matanot la'evyonim , sending delicacies to others and giving gifts to the poor. What is the significance of these mitzvot in their relationship to Purim? Further, it seems that matanot la'evyonim refers to tzekadah (charity). Why then do we call it gifts?
The unique mitzvot of Purim encapsulate within them all the mitzvot of the Torah, writes the Mearchei Lev, citing Rav Zadok. One of the key verses of the Megilah is, "Layehudim haytah orah ve'simchah ve'sasson ve'yekor." (The Jews had light, gladness, joy, and honor.) Chazal explain that orah is Torah,simchais yom tov,sasson parallels brit milah, and yekor symbolizes tefillin. Each of these also parallel one of the Purim mitzvot. Reading the Megilah relates to reading the Torah. After the miracle of Purim we accepted the Torah with love. This is compared to our acceptance of the Torah after our deliverance from Egypt. The gladness of yom tov is experienced through sending gifts of food and connecting two disparate elements, such as body and soul, husband and wife, and ultimately one Jew to another. Joy represents our connection to Hashem through circumcision. And finally, the honor of a Jew shines forth from his forehead and arm as he dons the tefillin that bind him and all that he does. Thus the whole day is interconnected.
Bnei Yisrael saw the hatred that can grow from one small snub, when Mordechai refused to bow to Haman. After this they were determined to repair any cracks in their relationships. This, writes the Chochmat Hamatzpun, is why mishloach manot and matanot laevyonim are such central elements on Purim, for they sensitize us to the needs of others and reinforce our concern and love for one another.
The gifts we can give do not have to be monetary. Acknowledging a stranger in shul by greeting him with shalom aleichem is also a gift, writes Rabbi Friefeld. Haman tried to prove that we were a divided people, but Esther countered this with the command to gather all the Jews together. To continue fostering this unity, our Sages mandated sending mishloach manot and gifts to the poor. Rabbi Pincus explains that the mitzvah is called gifts to the poor rather than tzedakah precisely so that we will view these as gifts that come from feelings of love. We foster love by giving to one another, writes Rabbi Friedlander. The Netivot Shalom echoes this theme. Amalek tried to divide us. To counter this, we have the mitzvot ofmishloach manot and matanot la'evyonim which create love, unity, validation, and equality. Therefore, giving gifts to the poor is distinct from tzedakah. Sefer Apiryo noffers a related idea.Chazal wanted to ensure that everyone would be able to partake of the simchaof Purim with a festive meal. Rather than embarrass the poor who would receive handouts, they instituted mishloach manot to everyone, so no one would distinguish those who were getting gifts due to poverty from those of more ample means.
Rabbi Gamliel Rabinowitz interprets the verse in Psalm 30, "Pitach tasakiva't'azreini simcha." When I open my sack and give gifts to others with no ulterior motive, I too am girded with joy. Just as we perform the mitzvah of brit milah with no ulterior motive, so should giving gifts to the poor be with no conditions. That is thesasson, the joy of Purim. Medrash Eichah states that when the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed and Bnei Yisrael were sent into exile, they cried to Hashem asking for mercy. They said, "We are orphans without a mother and father." Hashem responded by promising to bring salvation through another orphan, Esther, whom Mordechai took in as a child and raised her. This altruistic fatherly act of chesed, writes the Matnas Chaim, served as the catalyst for Hashem to redeem us. Similarly, when we give matanot la'evyonim,we show that we care about others, and we can ask Hashem to send brachot to us.
The destruction decree of the Jews on Purim was already sealed, but was overturned when Esther begged Achashverosh's during the feast. Similarly, we can ask Hashem to hear our pleas during our Purim seudah and they will be answered, writes the Netivot Shalom. We can ask and pray for gifts from Hashem when we give mishloach manot and matanot l'evyonim with open hearts, writes Rav Meislish.
May Hashem hear our prayers and grant us salvation from our enemies as He did so many generations earlier.
Tradition of Rachel and the Fast of Esther Part II
Based on Naaleh.com shiur by Mrs. Shoshie Niseenbaum 

Esther said to Mordechai, "
Lech kenos et kol hayehudim . Gather all the Jews." I and my maidservants will pray, but I need every single Jew to be a part of this. We will all join together to storm the gates of heaven for salvation. This is the power of prayer on Taanit Esther and this paves the way for the power of unified prayer on Purim. The purpose of mishloach manot is not to show off one's culinary talents or creative abilities. We should send to people who will sense the message that they are loved, wanted, cherished, and part of the Jewish nation. When we give matanot la'evyonim we are in essence saying that we want every Jew to experience the joy of Purim. We're saying that he matters. This is the message of Purim. It's a powerful day of achdut. Chazal tell us, " Kol haposhet yad notnin lo . Whoever puts out his hand, we must give him." By expressing love for every single Jew we strengthen the potency of our prayers.
 
Tannit Esther prepares us to focus on achdut. It reminds us that Amalek can attack us when we are apart. Amalek signifies doubt. This doesn't mean we have to agree with everyone and accept their opinions. But we do have to recognize, as the Baal Hatanya says, that all of Klal Yisrael is one soul fragmented in multiple bodies. When the Jews accepted the Torah at Sinai the verse says, " Vayichan Sham Yisrael." Bnei Yisrael were united as one. So too after the Purim miracle the verse says, "V 'kibel ha'yehudim. " The Jews re-accepted the Torah in unison with love and joy. 

When King David went to battle against Goliath, as he stepped forward, the rest of Klal Yisrael stepped back until David realized he was facing Goliath alone. It was then that he looked up to the mountains and composed Psalm 121. He recognized he had only one address to turn to for help, to the Creator who made heaven and earth. Similarly, Klal Yisrael stands alone, facing formidable challenges on both an individual and national level.
 
In one of his last letters, the Chofetz Chaim wrote that it's not enough to pray from a siddur . A Jew must call out in his own words throughout the day and ask Hashem to save him. We must yearn for the revach v'hatzala, for the vanafach hu, that everything bad should be turned to good. We will then merit la'yehudim hoyta orah, there will be light for us once again.
 
Esther- True Royalty
Based on Naaleh.com shiur by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller

" Vatilbash Esther malchut ." Esther donned royalty. From this point on, her entire level of being changed. Until this time, she was like a passenger sailing passively through the journey of life. She had very few choices in her life circumstances. Now she needed to act proactively. Midat hamalchut is Hashem's ability to transmit His presence in this world in a way that we can choose to recognize, and to then choose to follow Him and make Him our king.

Hashem doesn't change but our access to Him does. Our ability to discern Hashem's malchut is determined by the degree to which we nullify ourselves before Him. Malchut is compared to the moon. It reflects the light of the sun. It has no light of its own. If the moon would shine its own light it would lose the ability to reflect the sun's light. Similarly, a person who has a strong sense of self leaves no space to let Hashem in.

On the third day, Esther donned the garments of royalty. The Gemara explains she was graced with ruach hakodesh . Ruach hakodesh is a state where the person's every desire to use the gifts they have transcends above the limitations of this world and focuses on Hashem's will. When a person reaches this level, her intuitive understanding of Hashem's will changes. The more a person defines himself and truly wants to give himself over to Hashem with no ego involved, the more Hashem will give him clarity. After fasting and praying intensely, Esther acquired this level. This teaches us that everything depends on preparation. The gemara says one should begin to study the halachot of the chag thirty days before. The more you prepare, the more of yourself you take with you to act.

" She stood in the king's inner courtyard which faced the king's house." She was facing Hashem. When a person begins shemonei esrei he should try to envision himself as the kohen gadol standing in the Holy of Holies in the Beit Hamikdash . Esther stood there, facing the king in the courtyard.

Esther said, "If it is good for the king, let the king and Haman come today to the feast I have made for him." She based her strategy on a pauk in Misheli: "If your enemy is starving feed him." This refers to the yetzer hara . Haman was like a hungry dog, ready to devour his enemy alive. Esther wanted to feed him something that would take the edge off his ferocity and take down his guard. People make the mistake of thinking that if they can't face the yetzer hara head on they will need to make some compromises. How can one really fight the yetzer hara ? Not through deprivation but by channeling it for the good. Esther fed Haman what he wanted, namely, ego satisfaction, and then she brought him down.

Haman prepared a tree that was fifty amot high. The tree draws us back to the story of the tree in the Garden of Eden. The Jews had reached a point where they had listened to the snake, the yetzer hara , and it took them as far down as they could go. Haman saw what Mordechai saw, that there was no possibility of rectification in a natural way. He said, "Let them finally meet their fate." Fifty amot signifies the fifty gates of wisdom and impurity. The purpose of a gate is to let people in and out.

In life we are faced with choices which either let in Elokut or block it. Elokut exists within us and without. In one day you can make so many choices that either bring in Elokut or hold it back. Hashem wants to let the holy and compassionate parts of us reveal themselves. He will provide us with a situation that can facilitate that, but we have to open or close the gate.

There are seven emotive traits that we share in common with Hashem. They offer us the potential for spiritual self-expression. These traits interact with each other. For example, compassion must be tempered with gevura . There are 49 possible interactions. The 50
th gate is meta-rational, beyond our possibility to open. When Haman made the tree, he thought he would prevail at the highest level. The Gra says that he chose to kill Mordechai through hanging so that all people could see Mordechai's fate. The sense of sight is superior to other senses because it's all inclusive. Haman wanted to defeat Mordechai in every way.

Achashveirosh saw Esther's anguish and he couldn't bear it. He asked her, "What is your petition...and it shall be given to you?" She began by saying, "If I have found favor in your eyes....and if it pleases the king..." So too, before asking anything from Hashem, we should ask ourselves, "Will what I am praying for make me into someone who is fulfilling my purpose and existence?"
Featured Classes
Tradition Of Rachel and The Fast Of Ester
Mrs. Shoshie Nissenbaum
Parshat Tetzaveh Spiritual Clothing
Rabbi Hershel Reichman
Parshat Tetzaveh
Secret of the Spice
Mrs. Shira Smiles
Please visit our Refua Shleima Page for a current list of Cholim.
E-mail Ashley@naaleh.com to add a name to our Tehillim list.